Tag Archives: Technology

Review: Bad Blood

I just finished John Carreyrou’s new book “Bad Blood”, about the rise and fall of Theranos. Theranos, for those of you who haven’t kept up, was a Silicon Valley startup founded by Stanford dropout Elizabeth Holmes. It exploded onto the scene with claims that it could do hundreds of blood tests from a single drop of blood, eliminating the need for painful blood draws. For a time, they were the next Big Thing, signing contracts with Walgreen’s and Safeway, being valued at $9 billion and claiming they would upend the medical industry.

And it was all a lie. Holmes had a vision — a simple finger stick allowing diagnosis of all kinds of things. But what she lacked was the expertise, the patience or the ethics to make it happen. As Carreyrou explains, there are reasons we do tests based on blood draws — the need for volume, the difference between venous and capillary blood. To do what Theranos was claiming, it would not have been enough to use existing technology in new ways. They would have had to develop entirely new methods. But that would have taken decades of hard work and still may have failed. Holmes (and her business and personal partner Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani) didn’t have the patience for that. They tried to simply package existing tech into a smaller space. And when that didn’t work, they resorted to fraud, resulting in completely unreliable test results. They then used legal threats and bullying to try to silence anyone who questioned what they were doing. But it all ended when Carreyrou and the Wall Street Journal laid bare their deceit, helped by courageous whistleblowers. And then the federal agencies came down on them. Theranos is now, effectively, a dead shell and Holmes and Balwani are facing criminal charges.

The book is appalling and utterly gripping. I finished the last 100 pages in one sitting. The book skips a bit in time and Carreyrou’s writing is a bit rough in some places, probably a result of getting the book out so quickly. But that’s an extremely minor quibble. It’s not only a good story, it’s an important one. There are several things I gleaned from the book.

  • It is impossible to overstate how vile Theranos’ deceit was. Blood tests are one of our most critical diagnostic tools and inaccurate blood tests are not just a waste of money; they’re dangerous. The book details people who thought they were in serious medical trouble because of inaccurate tests produced by Theranos. It also indicates people didn’t get treated for serious problems because Theranos failed to diagnose them. Medication levels are often set based on blood tests and setting those levels too high or low can maim or kill. When Theranos fell, they had administered over a million bogus diagnostic tests. How many people would have died had they been allowed to keep going? Right before the fall, they were claiming to have a test for Ebola. Imagine falsely giving someone the all-clear on that.
  • The Theranos saga is a good illustration of why I’m a small-l libertarian and often call myself a “libertarian/conservative”. The WSJ’s expose was a critical part of Theranos’ fall. But what really ended their fraud was the regulatory agencies — the FDA and CMS — waking from their slumber and coming down on them like a house of bricks. Right before their fall, Theranos had gotten Arizona to pass a law allowing patients to get diagnostic tests without a doctor’s order. Had it not been for the regulatory agency crackdown, this would have led to thousands or maybe millions of additional health scares or undiagnosed health problems. Libertarians sometimes invoke “market forces” as though market forces are a magic spell. But this is one area where “market forces” weren’t enough. Patients are not experts and Theranos has immense legal and financial firepower to try to both silence critics and to flood the internet with positive reviews of its company. You need someone with equal firepower to oppose them. Regulatory agencies are far from perfect and frequently go too far. But they are an example of why government is a necessary evil.
  • That’s not to let the agencies off the hook. Theranos was able to deploy their non-existent technology through laughable deceit and convoluted legal arguments. Complaints were made to CMS and the FDA but they weren’t acted on until the WSJ expose’.
  • The story is yet another reason why President Trump is wrong on “libel laws” (actually, Supreme Court precedent). The WSJ did the responsible thing and contacted Theranos about the story (although Theranos already knew because they were spying on ex-employees). And Theranos’ response was vicious legal threats and pressure through one of the most high-power law firms in the country. In some countries, the WSJ could have been successfully silenced. Thank God for our libel laws.
  • It’s also, while we’re on the subject, an illustration of why Trump’s attacks on the media are so disturbing. Theranos was embedding itself with the political class, some of whom when to bat for them when the fraud was exposed. How would things have unfolded if they’d had a politician — of any stripe — proclaiming the WSJ to be fake news?
  • There’s a school of though in America that being a good boss entails bullying your employees and firing lots of people. This school reached its apotheosis in Holmes and Balwani. The book is a great illustration of why this approach is a disaster. But it also shows why that approach can work for con artists like Holmes. Many people saw through the lies. Theranos was able to marginalize or silence them for a long time.
  • One issue my wife kept focusing on — Holmes was not a biologist and had no expertise in the subject field (her one year at Stanford was studying chemical engineering). Almost no one on the Theranos board had expertise in the field. It was stocked with political power players.
  • I can’t say enough about the courage of the Theranos whistle-blowers. The story focuses a lot on Tyler Shultz, the grandson of George Shultz and one of Carreyrou’s principle sources. Once Theranos figured out he was talking, they brought unthinkable pressure to bear on him. They spied on him, they made legal threats, they tried to get his grandfather to force him to sign an agreement to stop talking. Ultimately, his family spent a fortune on legal fees defending him. But he didn’t crack. He refused to sign over his honor. Erika Cheung didn’t crack. Rochelle Gibbons didn’t crack. Neither did many who were sources for Carreyrou or filed complaints, all of whom were threatened by a powerful Silicon Valley company and its ruthless legal team. These people are heroes. What they did literally saved lives. They should be getting medals for that.

Anyway, I highly recommend the book. This is a story worth reading. And a story worth learning from.

Product and Purchase Review: Apple Watch 2

Really, all I wanted was a fitness tracker. I’ve been trying to get in shape for a long time and it seemed that a tracker would be a good way to help with that. Although many people don’t increase their exercise with trackers, I know me. Getting to that calorie goal on a regular basis would become an obsession (as indeed it has).

I had not really considered the Apple Watch since it seemed an overhyped product. And watches and I … do not have a good history. As as kid, I was rather infamous for breaking the many watches my mom bought me over the years. As an adult, people occasionally bought me a really nice watch and I would wear it for a while but eventually find it galling and stop (usually when a dead battery gave me an excuse). But Apple Watch 2 was one of the only water-resistant activity trackers on the market so … with some help from my dad, I took the plunge.

I’ve waited four months to write a report on it because it’s easy to get swept up in techno-joy when you get a new gadget. I have frequently found products reviews in places like Consumer Reports to be near useless because they only try out a product. There’s a difference between trying out a product and owning it for months or years. Over time, the drawbacks and flaws become more visible, the product shows you how reliable or unreliable it is and the verdict becomes much clearer.

And after four months, I … surprisingly … kind of like the thing. I’m still not sure I would have purchased it at full price but it does a great job of tracking my activity, motivating me to do more. I downloaded a sleep-tracking app, which is nice to have. It’s semi-useful for texting — the “scribble” function is awkward but speech-to-text works just as well/poorly as the iPhone. It is, however, a bit annoying to get a buzz on my wrist every time my brother goes off on a rant. The phone function is useful when someone calls me while my phone is in the other room. But the drawback is that it’s All-Speaker-Phone All-the-Time so it becomes useless for confidential conversations. It would be nice if you could pass calls back to the phone. But overall, as an extension of my phone … it’s not bad. I would definitely recommend it for someone, like me, who always needs to be tied to his phone.

Now I noted in the title that this is both a product review and a purchase review. I wanted to say a few words about how I ended up with the watch. We researched online and then went into Best Buy, which was having a sale on them. And when the staff there saw what I was shopping for, they immediately approached me. They answered all my questions and talked about other options. One of them even allowed me to try on his Apple Watch and see how it worked. And ultimately, I bought it from Best Buy. Not just because of the price but because of their approach — that they had people eager and willing to help me out.

I think that brick and mortar stores will continue to hemorrhage space for a while. We’re seeing entire shopping malls shut down. But they will not go away entirely. And my experience buying the watch is a big reason why. Brick-and-mortar stores bring you the one thing that online shopping can not bring you: people. And with some products, people can make a big difference in your purchasing choice.

I’ve been predicting for a while that the Sears chain is going to die. The reason is that they appear to be responding to the decline in customers by pulling back on their people. Our local Sears, at least, is like a ghost town. You have to practically stalk and hogtie an associate to get any help. Frankly, if I wanted to shop in a vacant building, Amazon can do that for me. After being a loyal customer of theirs for years, I’ve now switched to other stores which are either online or have enough staff that I can get help when I need it. Because sometimes it’s good to have a human being to ask questions of.

Saturday Linkorama

  • This visualization of the Right of Spring is seriously seriously cool. Seeing the music like that, you start hearing the subtleties that elude you when you just hear it. This is one of the reasons I like to see classical music in performance. There is so much more going on than the ear can take in.
  • This map of linguistic divides in the United States, is something I could spend an entire post on. I match most of the pronunciations from Georgia except for “lawyer” and “pajamas”.
  • This story, about charities that just exist to raise money, should be getting national attention. It’s a disgrace.
  • I’ve used some of these.
  • Roman concrete was apparently better than the shit we’re using.
  • I think this is more or less true: the financial industry has stopped being about enabling economic progress and more about itself. When engineers can make more moving piles of money around than inventing things, we’ve got a problem.
  • Teenage boys killed the sex scene.
  • Late May Linkorama

  • A brief bit of mathematical malpractice, although not a deliberate one. The usually smart Sarah Kliff cites a study that of an ER that showed employees spent nearly 5000 minutes on Facebook. Of course, over 68 computers and 15 days, that works out to about 4 minutes per day per computer which … really isn’t that much.
  • What’s interesting about the Netflix purge is that many of the studios are pulling movies to start their own streaming services. This is idiotic. I’m pretty tech savvy and I have no desire to have 74 apps on my iPad, one for each studio. If I want to watch a movie, I’m going to Netflix or Amazon or iTunes, not a studio app (that I have to pay another subscription fee for). In fact, many days my streaming is defined by opening up the Netflix app and seeing what intrigues me.
  • We go into this on Twitter. The NYT ran an article about how little nutrition our food has. Of course, they have defined “nutritional content” as the amount of pigment which has dubious nutritional value (aside from anti-oxidant value; so, no nutritional value). As Kevin Wilson said according to the graph, the value of blue corn is that it is blue and not yellow.
  • While we’re on the subject of nutrition, it turns out that low sodium intake may not only not be beneficial, it may even be harmful. I’m slowly learning that almost everything we think we know about nutrition is shaky at best.
  • Ultra-conserved words. I am fascinated by language.
  • Wine tasting is bullshit.
  • How the peaceful loving people-friendly Soviet Union tried to militarize space.
  • The most remote places in each state.
  • Porn is not the problem. You are. More on how “sex addiction” is a made up disorder.
  • Meet the coins that could rewrite history. Every time we learn more about the past, we find out that our ancestors were smarter and more adventurous than we thought they were. And some people think they needed aliens to build the pyramids.
  • Big Damn Linkorama

    It’s been a while and I’ve been accumulating links. You’ll have to forgive me if I ramble on a bit.

  • This article, about the potential for solar-powered roads, reminded me of Robert Heinlein’s The Roads Must Roll. But I am deeply skeptical that the kind of durable materials could be manufactured in the quantities needed. When people talk about alternative energy, they never seem to take into account the expense — financial and environmental — of manufacture and maintenance.
  • See, I told you Christopher Ryan was full of shit. He writes about our bleak future with sexbots taking over (or something). But Maggie McNeill — who knows a thing or two about sex — has frequently pointed out that people want intimacy for sex, not just pleasure. And a device capable of reproducing that would have rights of its own. Masturbation doesn’t cut down on the amount of sex people have. And I also haven’t noticed that the proliferation of dildos, vibrators and fleshlights has remotely cut down on the amount of sex going on (and reminder, dildos date back thousands of years). We have sex for intimacy as well as pleasure.
  • An impressive study reveals the age of the Iliad. Seems it was written about four or five centuries after the events.
  • This study disputes the idea that people’s political preferences change with age. You can clearly see that Democratic/Republic preferences are often based on who was in charge when the voter came of age. This doesn’t surprise me at all. As you can see in the graphs, Roosevelt, Kennedy, Reagan, Ford, Bush I, Clinton, Obama and Ike were respected and made lifelong supporters. Truman, Johnson, Carter, Nixon, and Bush II were hated and made lifelong opponents. I knew teachers who would never vote Republican because of Nixon. And I know people who will never vote Democrat because of Carter. It will be interesting to see how history judges Obama. I suspect he will create more lifelong supporters than opponents.
  • The opposition to GMO’s grows ever more absurd. We now have a golden rice that could literally save millions per year. And the opposition to them is increasingly based on lies and distortions.
  • Robot Cars and the Law

    As I often say about innovation, the technical problems are nothing compared to the pinhead legal problems. Verge has a good article up sorting through some of the legal and treaty issues (yes, treaty issues) involved in automated robotic cars. It’s definitely worth your time.


    The article seems unduly pessimistic to me. These are things that can be worked out — we have entire armies of lawyers in this country who stand to make millions getting everything sorted into legal precedent. And if these things prove to be safe — and I think they will — the economic pressure to work out the legal issues will be fierce.

    The one thing that bothered me about the article was this:

    The Geneva Convention on Road Traffic (1949) requires that drivers “shall at all times be able to control their vehicles,” and provisions against reckless driving usually require “the conscious and intentional operation of a motor vehicle.” Some of that is simple semantics, but other concerns are harder to dismiss. After a crash, drivers are legally obligated to stop and help the injured — a difficult task if there’s no one in the car.

    As a result, most experts predict drivers will be legally required to have a person in the car at all times, ready to take over if the automatic system fails. If they’re right, the self-parking car may never be legal.

    Did you see the subtext? The subtext is that if I’m in a crash with an automated car, there is no one around to render assistance to me.

    Well, maybe. Bleeding out while unconscious or seriously injured would be a risk (although it’s not like pedestrians and bystanders are going to disappear). But being in a collision with a robot would have some advantages over being in one with a human:

  • One of the lessons taught in driver’s education is how to avoid accidents or, if unavoidable, minimize the damage (e.g., rear-ending someone instead of swerving into traffic or pedestrians). Robots can be made to optimize this much better than human beings.
  • A robot can not be knocked unconscious and can call for help. Even if its CPU were destroyed, it can be on a network that will recognize the dropout and call for assistance to the last known location.
  • An automated car will maintain an extremely detailed and objective record of the accident, making fault easy to determine.
  • An automated car will not get out and try to help injured passengers, true. But this isn’t always a good thing. It’s not unheard for helpful bystanders to drag people with spinal injuries into para- or quadriplegia because of an irrational fear that the car will burst into flames.
  • Developing safety and reporting methods for automated cars will massively improve the ability of driven cars to avoid accidents, minimize damage and call for help.
  • Robot cars are coming, one way or another. As powerful as the legal pinheads are, the force of progress is simply too strong.

    Me and the Ninth

    So, I finally got a new pair of headphones today. That in itself is a story. When I was in grad school, I bought a pair of heavy earphones that were fantastic. Long cord, covered the ears, good balance. I used the hell out of them. One day someone broke into my UT-Austin office through the ceiling and stole my monitor and my headphones. We recovered the monitor; they’d stashed it for later retrieval and I got it back after the police fingerprinted it. But the headphones were never seen again. Why they would want my old, torn-up, earwax-encrusted headphones mystifies me a bit. But, as Robert Heinlein said, thieves will steal anything that isn’t nailed down whether it’s valuable or not.

    When I get new electronics, one of my little quirks is to figure out the perfect media with which to break them in with. When I got my first DVD player, it was Saving Private Ryan. When I got my blu-ray player, it was Lord of the Rings (DVD). So what do you break a new pair of headphones in with?

    If you’re me, you break them in with the Fourth Movement of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. And since it is Christmas, it becomes doubly apropos.

    Other writers have written more eloquently than I can about the 9th Symphony, which is simply the pinacle of musical achievement. Listened to on its own, it’s powerful, beautiful and overwhelming. But when you think about the circumstances: the most joyous uplifting music in history written by a man who was deaf and had an awful personal life … well, let me just say that I couldn’t get through typing that sentence without choking up.

    As amazing as the 9th is on audio, it’s simply stunning in person. I’ve been privileged to see it live, performed by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. And I don’t think any media — digital, analog or telepathic — can convey just how special it is to watch it performed live. There’s something about seeing the hundred pieces of an orchestra and chorus working together that a recording simply can not convey.

    What’s even more amazing is the response. I’ve been to many classical concerts and classical audiences tend to be a bit reserved. For a great performance, you’ll get a standing ovation. But it’s usually just politely attentive applause. When the last note of the 9th fell, however, I heard a sound I’d never heard from a classical audience before. There was a roar as the audience lept to their feet, clapping cheering and whistling. The ASO got five ovations the night I saw them. It was like we didn’t want that glorious music to end.

    Texas Linkorama

  • The idea of building gondolas in Austin strikes me as a really dumb. Gondols are slow and would take up lots of space for the number of passengers they transport. Texans aren’t big on mass transit to begin with (the light rail system is likely to be a flop). And what do you need a gondola for in a city that is really flat? This crosses me as a solution in search of a problem. And if it doesn’t have high ridership, it’s bad for the environment. And expensive.
  • Down with homework!
  • I always suspected that the high I got off parenting was an evolutionary thing. I find these things intriguing and fascinating. Much of what we feel in life: compassion, empathy, love, tenderness is the result of millions of years of evolution making us into creatures that look for the species rather than ourselves.
  • A really good post on the Jefferson slave thing. Also, highly recommended on the subject: Ta-Nehisi Coates. Actually, TNC is just recommended, full stop.
  • One day, parenting authorities will get it through thick skulls like that fun physical activities are good for children even when they involve a low amount of risk.
  • Ah, peak oil. These days, the biggest energy concern is that we won’t run out of fossil fuels and that global warming will be worse than feared.
  • A fascinating story from NPR about how our image of Jesus has changed with social norms.
  • While it strikes me that global helium supplies are a legitimate concern, the idea that our technical needs in 50 years will be the same as they are now crosses me as silly. Think about the chemicals that were important 50 years ago. Are we in the grips of a global lead shortage?
  • Wednesday Linkorama

  • Distracted parenting is a problem, obviously. But, despite the horrible tragedies described, it’s not clear how big a problem it is. Mobile devices free parents up to do more things with kids and to supervise them more. I will let on, however, that they can occupy your attention. I was at a park when a kid broke his arm and didn’t notice immediately because of my phone. Don’t know if it would have been different with my kid.
  • I’m really looking forward to reading Nate Silver’s book.
  • Statues at the bottom of the sea. Amazing. And heart-breaking, when you think of what they represent.
  • I think this author has a good point that the Star Wars universe is likely illiterate. However, I think it’s less a conscious “where is modernism driving us” thing than a reflection of Star Wars being built on medieval narratives and cliches.
  • An interesting take on one of the more panned documentaries of the year. It does seem that people have a problem accepting that being anti-Big Education is not the same as being anti-education. Or even anti-teacher.
  • This story made my day. This is religion at its finest.
  • Whatever the political fallout of Benghazi, the story of the attack is an amazing one.
  • This is NOT the way to fight global warming. And they say all the greed and abuse is on the skeptic side.
  • Cutting the Cord

    The lamest thing about NBC’s Olympics is not the insipid announcing or the constant shuffling of events or the focus on drama instead of sport. No, the lamest thing is their online streaming.

    No, scratch that. The streaming is actually very good. It’s easy to find events, the video is smooth and you can do a picture-in-picture thing to effectively watch two events at once. Even better: you can actually watch the events instead of puff pieces about the athletes, if you can imagine.

    No, what’s lame is the business model. Streaming is only available to cable subscribers. You have to be subscribed to NBC, CNBC and MSNBC in order to stream events live to your computer. This may sound fine to NBC and its paleozoic business outlook. But it’s death for the modern viewer.

    And it’s death to their finances. NBC is throwing away potentially millions, maybe hundreds of millions of dollars by not making their streaming more accessible. Prime time viewing will draw lots of eyes for a long time — their ratings have been through the roof. But streaming brings in new customers who would prefer a cleaner more current version of their coverage. And NBC could make trainloads of money off of it. I would personally pay at least $50 for unlimited access to Olympic coverage if I weren’t already paying the cable company for it. Just a million customers would bring in a cool $50 million for NBC of which the cable companies would get zero.

    (Update: I’d forgotten that Comcast owns NBC and is therefore able to use the Olympics to sell crappy cable packages. That, of course, doesn’t apply to customers of other cable companies or customers who have cut the cord to cable. And the less said of the sleazy Comcast-NBC acquisition, the better. My general point remains unchanged: Olympic streaming should produce piles of money, not aggravation.)

    But it’s bigger than that. The current trend is of customers following content rather than providers. Forget what NBC would make now; they would be setting up a gold mine for the future. You wouldn’t have to juggle six channels and tape delays to find what you want. Go to NBC, pony up some cash and the entire Olympiad would be laid out for you. Instead of this, they have hitched their wagon to the dying cable model. (See update above for why they’ve done this).

    It’s not exactly news that cable is dying. My personal journey away from cable is like that of ten million other people in this country. When we lived in Texas, we had an elaborate and expensive cable package. When we moved to Pennsylvania, we ditched it. This wasn’t because we didn’t want it but because we simply couldn’t afford it until we sold our Texas home and my wife had a job. But even once those things were cleared up, we didn’t go back. We realized that we hadn’t missed cable. Between Netflix, Amazon and online streaming, we pretty much had everything we wanted. I’ve recently upped the subscription slightly to get Olympic coverage and football games. We’ve also had grandparents moving in with us for long periods and they miss the TV. But if I could, I would cut the cord completely.

    The Great Recession has only accelerated this trend. People need to save money and cable is an obvious place. But even when (if?) the recession ends, I don’t think they’re going to stampede back. Consider the following replacement we put in place for a cable subscription running $100 a month:

  • The main thing we watch broadcast TV for is Doctor Who. For $2 an episode, we get it on Amazon or Itunes within 24 hours. And we own the digital copy. Total cost: $28.
  • We also like The Daily Show and the occasional sitcom. Hulu and Comedy Central’s website fill that gap for the cost of watching a few ads.
  • Most other stuff we get from Netflix streaming or DVDs. Total cost: $240 a year.
  • I recently subscribed to MLB.tv. I now have access to any baseball game that is not blacked out in my area. I’ve been watching my Braves all season; I watched the end of Matt Cain’s perfect game; I watched Bryce Harper’s debut. This is better than cable; way better. Total cost: $125.
  • If the NFL and NCAA had similar packages, I would buy them. NFL has Sunday Ticket, but it is only available to either Direct TV subscribers or those who can’t physically get Direct TV because of line-of-sight issues. It also costs $350, which is ridiculous. Let’s assume they come to their senses once the Direct TV contract runs out and offer it to everyone at a reasonable price. Let’s assume the NCAA does so as well and the two combine for about $300 in cost.
  • We’re now up to a grand total of about $700. For that price, I get to watch any network television I want, when I want. I get to watch any baseball game in the country (and any football game if the NFL/NCAA ever pull their heads out of their asses). I get to make sure my daughter watches decent TV like My Little Pony instead of horrid TV. And cutting off her TV is as simple as changing the router password. And I still have $500 left over to buy any DVDs, blu-rays or downloads that haven’t been covered already. Or I can just throw myself a big party with some very expensive scotch.

    Jesus Christ … why is anyone staying with cable? If channel surfing really that much fun?

    I’m not going to say that cable is dead … yet. Cable can be very much alive if they start competing with that model. They’re doing this in their own way with On Demand movies and sports packages. But they have not gotten within screaming distance of the convenience, cost and mobility offered by other services. I can stream Netflix and MLB to any device no matter where I am in the United States; I can barely watch Comcast in my living room. I can watch Netflix or Amazon through an iPad app; for Comcast I need a huge box next to the TV. I can cut Netflix off with an e-mail; I’m locked in to Comcast for months. Netflix charges me $20 a month for as many downloads as I want; Comcast turns me over and shakes me by the ankles to see if I have any loose change.

    That may have worked ten years ago. It’s a recipe for extinction now.

    Cable companies are making tons of money right now, so they think everything is fine. But they are ignoring two things: (1) they are making money because they have little monopolies all over the country; (2) they are making money off the expectations of older customers. My daughter’s generation will simply not stand for this. Already, she expects content to show up on any reasonably flat surface at a touch with no commercials. She’s a part of a generation for whom everyone gathering around the Ol’ Radiation King at 8:00 to watch Seinfeld and eight minutes of commercials will sound as quaint as party phone lines do to me. She will navigate through a dozen internet services to find precisely what she wants at the best price and the least fuss. And cable … isn’t that.

    Update: You might wonder what provoked this rant. Up until a few months ago, I had a minimal cable package. I ran the line into the back of my television and got a good number of channels with some in HD. We got PBS for the kid, football in the fall and a handful of other channels for the grandparents. We were fine. Then Comcast decided to “improve” their service. Suddenly, we needed a box and another remote control for every television. And the results was fewer channels and no high definition. It tells you how little we watch TV that we didn’t even notice this for a month.

    So, as result of Comcast’s service improvement, we paid more, got worse service and were blessed with a big white elephant sitting next to every TV in the house. This is not a business model for the 21st century. It’s the business model of someone who has a monopoly … one that is doomed to extinction.

    Weekend Linkorama

  • A magical photo.
  • Turns out there are only four or five degrees of separation.
  • Cracked again, this time on gadgets lying. I always wondered about my laptop battery.
  • This is very true; says the man who just bought an iPad.
  • I should blog more on Israeli efforts to discourage Israelis from marrying American Jews. This is not the first time I’ve encountered that attitude. And it won’t be the last.